Power Rangers was a dominant element of my childhood from a themed birthday party in pre-school to a massive toy collection up until Power Rangers Space. Lately, films have decided that the best way to take money is to capitalize on nostalgia, but that’s not exactly how you feel after it’s all done.
However, that’s not to say it wasn’t entertaining or that it was a bad movie. In fact, I think it actually surpassed the other movies. They decided to retell the origin story of how five teenagers from Angel Grove were chosen as Power Rangers. Three of them (Jason, Billy, Kimberly) find themselves in a detention center following the first scene. After Jason defends Billy from a bully, he finds himself on a trip to the mountain. That’s where all five of them meet including Zack and Trini. Not much of their backstory is shown, but they’ll touch up on that later. This is the scene where they discover the coins and where their lives all start to change.
Of course, none of this can happen without Rita Repulsa also reappearing. Her history has been rewritten and I will talk about it in spoilers. She comes off intimidatingly creepy compared to the witch of the 90s. I have mixed feelings, but her character is like that for a reason.
I think that by changing the history, Power Rangers has a fresh appeal and demonstrates that being the good guys can actually require diligence. This is all under the guidance of Zordon and Alpha 5. They aren’t exactly mom and dad, but they are necessary for these teenagers to become the Power Rangers.
Action also comes with the character development. They train and they will fight familiar adversaries. I have mentioned Rita and most likely you have seen Goldar, but there’s more too. And of course, the zords are there because Power Ranger isn’t the same without them. There’s a sequence that will probably release your inner child’s joy.
Surprisingly, everyone had a decent if not good performance. Jason is the leader you need. Kimberly is the spunky, attractive girl. Billy is a nerd with immeasurable kindness. Zack is the goof, but not without character. Finally, Trini is the outsider that doesn’t want to fit the cookie cutter girl mold. It’s the variance that makes you feel that they worked to represent different groups of people and the depth that could never be part of a kid’s show.
Cranston delivers an arrogant Zordon, but maybe the supportive parent is hard to believe when the world is facing an eminent danger. Hader plays a funny and less cringey Alpha 5 from the show.
Power Rangers is a different take. It’s darker, funnier, and more mature for our eyes. It doesn’t have that same campiness with absurd sequences or rehashing of Japan’s Super Sentai footage. But we can always revisit those if we wish to relive some of those after school memories. There are some minor plot holes, but it could very well be more realistic scenes upon reflection. Characters will not be the same for you, but as you watch they’ll grow on you. All of that still can’t take away from the team and care taken to retell The Power Rangers to a wider audience. Be sure to stay for the mid credits scene.
Spoilers After This
Now, I’m not sure if there could be a perfect movie for this adaptation. Yet, here were some complaints from my end.
The Megazord isn’t my favorite design. Not only because of how it looks put together even if it’s to resemble an angel. Also for the choice to have them coordinate from their own zord. It kind makes sense and yet I wish they were all on the same room. The first fall was mildly hilarious.
The mountain collapsing with Trini surviving seems unbelievable to me, but maybe that’s just the invulnerability of some teenagers.
Also, the death of Billy with not one attempt of CPR shows either the naivety of our heroes or poor writing. The scene where they carry him through is not only alarming, but felt like some type of forced miracle.
I wish they didn’t have to make Billy a double minority in being autistic, but nonetheless I loved RJ Cyler. Jason was the leader, but Billy was the heart of the team. His loyalty goes well with being true blue when it came to saving the others. Plus, he was hilarious at several points. Kudos to him telling us about his childhood nicknames.
Now Rita Repulsa being a former Power Ranger is a smart move for introducing the Green Ranger at some point. Unlike her witch counterpart, she was given the ability to fight. That’s something I felt made her a slightly better villain rather than relying on her minor support characters. Her not being able to form full armor shows the spiritual connection required. Goldar lacked the bonehead personality, but he still looked formidable against the zords.
I appreciated the concept of not being able to morph automatically. That to be a Power Ranger, you have to earn the right of holding the power, not just being chosen. I low key miss the shouting of the dinosaur, but teaching that at the same time would probably be a silly addition.
I thought this was a pretty good movie and I am just curious to see what they have for the future of the series.
Some other questions I have are who is going to be Tommy? What is the significance of the Zeo Crystal for upcoming movies if planned? Will Zedd appear? Will they have their own Bulk & Skull?